"With pen and sword" ("С пером и шпагой!") monthly published an interview with Aliya Turusbekova, the wife of Vladimir Kozlov. In the interview, the Kazakh journalist, Oksana Makushina asked Turusbekova, amongst other things, about the chances of Vladimir Kozlov being transferred to a semi-open colony, his encounter with the MEP and the Chair of OSCE's General Committee for Democracy, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Questions Isabel Santos, and the confiscation order relating to their apartment in Almaty.
Makushina points to a certain relaxation - in March, Kozlov was transferred to a colony closer to his place of residence, from Petropavlovsk located at a distance of more than 1800 Km from Almaty, to Zarechnoe, and in June, the authorities allowed him to meet Isabel Santos.
In the interview, the journalist asks Aliya about the chances of Kozlov's early release or his transfer to a lighter-regime colony. In accordance with Article 73 of the Executive Penal Code, depending on his conduct and attitude to work in the colony, having served 1/3 of his sentence, a convict sentenced to deprivation of liberty, may be transferred to another place to serve his sentence (so-called Колония-поселение). On the 23rd July, Kozlov will have been in prison for 2.5 years, which qualifies him to apply for a transfer to a semi-open colony with a lighter regime, where family visits are allowed.
In the interview, Aliya says that she continues to hope for the transfer and mentions, at the same time, that the authorities treat Kozlov differently than the other prisoners. "Decisions on his status are taken at the very top, in accordance with the political line and not the law". Turusbekova fears also that the authorities may again find some kind of breach and thusly deny the transfer under that pretence.
Makushina also asks how Kozlov himself sees his chances of getting a transfer and what is said about that in the colony where he is now incarcerated. Apparently, Astana believes that Kozlov has been in Zarechnoe, where he was moved in March, for too short a time. Moreover, the leader of 'Alga!' party denies the charges against him.
Turusbekova also describes the process of making the decision on Kozlov's potential transfer. Under the law, the decision should be taken by the district court whose jurisdiction covers the establishment's location, based on a report from the head of the previous colony. However, as Aliya notes, "(…) in the case of Vladimir Kozlov, the decision will be a political decision. I have no doubt that such a decision is not within the competence of the "lows". From the outset, decisions about his detention, arrest, sentencing, confiscation of property and those relating to his private life were taken by higher-ranking officials. Down there, they only follow the instructions from above". Everything depends on the decision to be taken in Astana.
In the interview, Aliya also comments on the visit by Isabel Santos. Up to that point, the authorities had never agreed to oppositionists seeing MEPs or western journalists and hence, no one expected that a meeting with an OSCE representative would take place. Kozlov met Santos in the presence of a translator, without the participation of the colony's staff. The visit was videoed. The meeting was to be joined by a representative of the prosecutor's office but Santos is said to have firmly opposed that.
In the interview, Kozlov's wife also confirmed the decision of the court in Almaty about the confiscation of the apartment, considering it unlawful - in the light of Article 161 of the Kazakh Code of Criminal Procedure, confiscation of essential property is deemed impermissible.
Source: "С пером и шпагой!" monthly of 17th June 2014; interview available also from respublika-kaz.info
Interview authored by: Oksana Makushina